What is the Government Procurement Agreement 2012?

As more countries look to join the pact, what is the Government Procurement Agreement 2012?

The GPA 2012 is a plurilateral World Trade Organisation agreement, which means not all WTO members are members of it.  It aims to open up government procurement markets to foreign competition with reciprocation between nations.  It also aims to make government procurement more transparent and to promote good governance.

Reciprocal market opening helps GPA parties in purchasing goods and services that offer the best value for their money and provides legal guarantees of non-discrimination for the goods, services and suppliers of GPA parties in covered procurement activities, which are worth an estimated USD 1.7 trillion annually.

There are currently 48 WTO members (including the 27 member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom) bound by the Agreement.

With government procurement accounting for 10-15% of the GDP of an economy on average, it constitutes a significant market and an important aspect of international trade. The World Trade Organisation’s work on government procurement aims to promote transparency, integrity and competition in this market.

New members of the GPA 2012

Costa Rica has submitted an application to start negotiations on joining the Government Procurement Agreement 2012. The new bid was submitted to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the WTO, Ronald Saborío

“Costa Rica’s accession to the GPA 2012 would open new government procurement markets for our country and enhance our attractiveness for investment,” said Costa Rica’s Trade Minister, Manuel Tovar, in an accompanying statement. 

It “would also add legal certainty and support to the participation by Costa Rican suppliers in government procurement procedures abroad,” he added.

A first for Central America 

An observer to the Committee since 2015, Costa Rica would be the first WTO member from Central America to join the GPA 2012. 

The Chair of the Committee on Government Procurement, Martin Zbinden (Switzerland), said: “Costa Rica's application will undoubtedly be welcomed by GPA parties. I warmly congratulate its representatives on taking this initiative and, along with the GPA parties, look forward to working closely with Costa Rica on advancing its accession to the GPA 2012. This confirms that the GPA 2012 is a modern and flexible trade agreement that can assist WTO member governments in all parts of the world in delivering benefits to their economies, government procurement entities and citizens.”

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